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Background. Empirical evidence indicates that manipulations of attention may facilitate changes in cognition and stress symptoms in emotional disorder.
Methods. The present study reports the effects of Attention Training (ATT) in a brief case series of three patients with primary hypochondriasis using an A–B–A design.
Results. ATT produced clinically significant improvements in self-reported measures of affect, and illness-related behaviour and cognition. Treatment gains were maintained at 6 months follow-up assessments. Measures of body-focused attention indicated that the ATT procedure acted on attentional processes as intended.
Conclusions. The present case series extends the effects of ATT to problems of hypochondriasis. A number of studies now suggest that ATT is associated with a reduction in anxiety and negative beliefs across disorders of panic, social phobia and hypochondriasis. Controlled clinical trials are now required to establish firmly the effects of ATT as a component of cognitive therapy.
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